When Good Websites Go Bad

So I spent some time recently reviewing some of our local competitions portfolios to get a feel for the types of work they are completing.  One company in particular has been trying to chase a number of our clients and prospects.  I won’t name any names but I feel so much better about differentiating ourselves from the competition after reviewing their work.

The Good

Before I end up in a rant of negativity towards these companies I should point out some of the areas they seem to excel at.  A number of the projects in the portfolios seemed to be very visually pleasing.  They were easy to look at and they provided clear calls to action.  Although they also had a number that were not that well designed, I do understand that it isn’t always easy to create mona lisas when your clients sometimes demand finger paintings.

The Bad

Of the sites in the portfolios none of them made it through the W3C validator. What was also amazing was the use of non-existent meta tags including revisit-after.  I would imagine that companies who do this stuff for a living would at least know how to create valid html and wouldn’t use pointless meta tags in their client sites.

The worse gets better.

It seems that none of the sites had any attention paid to any form of SEO.  From empty meta description tags and title tags to internal links occasionally referencing the www domain and sometimes referencing separate alias domains altogether.  The truly amazing thing was that some of these site were large companies with a national presence who were now apparently targeting ‘Home’, ‘About Us’, and ‘Contact Us’ as keyword phrases instead of their well-know product names or phrases that could actually drive traffic.

in a way I feel bad for these businesses.  They probably paid 10s or 100s of thousands and never knew any better.  Most of them probably graded the final product on appearances alone as many of the projects had rave testimonials from the clients.

Am I just overly anal and focusing on semantics that businesses really don’t care about?  I doubt it, someday they will all see the light.

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